We need you to help us define what’s next in retail

Henrik Valstad
Feb 7, 2019 · 5 min read

The future of retail is upon us. What the future is, isn’t clear to us. Some say frictionless online shopping delivered to your door step is the solution, others go with an omni-channel approach. There are pure online players vs brick-and-mortar players. We aren’t sure there exist a single approach to achieve a winning formula going forward.

First “Coop” store in 1867

We believe, and trust us we’ve been selling groceries since 1906, there isn’t one, single way Norwegians prefer to shop groceries. Groceries, or even do-it-yourself home improvement, have a lot of emotions attached. Some prefer to touch and smell the products they purchase, others are more routine based and interested in spending as little time as possible to shop the necessities. Some might want to accomplish goals such as eating healthy or baking the perfect cake for their daughters birthday (or have it delivered?). Perhaps many just prefer to be fed easily, and could go on with their lives without ever stepping in a grocery store ever again. The famous quote by Theodore Levitt goes like: “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!”. What are the Jobs-to-be-Done in retail going forward? We want to find out.

We needed a vision and mission

to guide us in our quest to understand how retail is changing. When crafting our vision, we debated long hours on how bold we wanted to make it. But at the end of the day, one of our team members simply put it like:

If we don’t even dare to aim high, we’ll end up producing mediocre products and not drive change

and that settled it. That’s why we created a vision that enables us to think boldly and work towards creating Norways best shopping experience. To give our customers and members less friction so that every day is a little easier— enabling them to focus their energy and time to what matters most.

Our understanding is that grocery or dyi-retailers aren’t facing disruption in ways like other sectors such as media or clothing retailers….yet. However, simply picking the easy way out and watch on the sideline how this plays out isn’t our approach. We want to build products and services our customers want and or did not think they want, but it in the end it helps our customers do one thing; it solves our customers’ problems, and as a result the everyday of our customers becomes easier so they can go on and spend their time doing something they love.

Along the way so far we’ve narrowed it down to 5 trends we find immensely interesting, but also a threat to our current business model (non MECE version):

  1. eCommerce. It’s the inevitable trend that we already have in our binoculars. We believe many customers both in the present and in the future will become an online grocery shopper, partially or fully committed. At the same time we aren’t sure enough of our customers would like to change their habits just yet, so we aren’t convinced we need to go grand scale immediately. But that doesn’t say we can’t experiment and learn what our users and customers prefer in the meantime.
  2. Availability. This spans across so many different sectors and needs. We want our TV shows to be available when we want it, wherever we want it. We crave food and snacks at a higher rate now than before, and we’d like it available in an instant. We’ve grown accustomed to have everything we need available to us just around the corner — how far do you really need to walk before you can purchase your favorite soda pop? What’s driving our needs going forward here? Can and should we partner with somone? It’s an exciting area to explore and highly appraised if we get it right.
  3. Industry fragmentation. For instance, have you noticed a change in how you purchase your hair products now than you did perhaps a few years back? Beauty products, sporting goods, baby clothing and other non-food items are more frequently bought online or at new, specialty stores. Customers enjoy value propositions that are easy to understand and that ables you to purchase whatever you want fast, affordable and easy. What’s coming next?
  4. Customers expectations. Across all devices and even in physical stores, more and more users expect everything to work seamlessly and with less and less friction. Self checkout on your mobile phone at your retailer should be able soon don’t you think? Maybe even track the origins and production details of your purchase? Shop more sustainable products? And how can we use personalization to adapt to each users different needs and wants? Personalized shopping, such as guiding you through the store helping you find exactly what you need or coupons that are tailored to your shopping habits helping you save money shouldn’t be a futuristic scenario. It’s happening now, and we want to build these things even better.
  5. The informed customer. Our decision making process has fundamentally changed after the introduction of internet and the smart phone. We now instantly compare prices, read, view and watch videos about the products and easily understand the difference between different brands and products. We walk into stores with a lot more knowledge than before. How can we help our customers make better decisions? And in the process become a trusted partner or friend going forward?

The key element connecting all these trends is technology.

Now that I’ve shared what our thoughts are, it’s time to look at where we are right now. Our ambition is to learn, build, launch, and measure new products and services going forward. And build a great product- and tech community around it. And it starts about right now.

In Coop, we have perhaps the best foundation in the market to leverage these opportunities. With our co-owner program we already have structured knowledge and history of shopping habits and preferances of around 1,7 million people! Verified data, not your typical random e-mail some customer left us 5 years ago. 1200+ physical stores and many other assets for us to experiment with. Can’t wait to dwelve into the data?

Also of great significance, we’re not your average corporation — Coop is owned by our customers. We believe our customers should be encouraged to engage and directly influence our decision making, to play a part in both small and big decisions. That’s how we empower our members and why we pay out dividends to our members each year. Together, we can shape our future in retail with new products and services, but also to how customers influence and shape our company going forward.

If you’re interested you’ll get to build products and services that can help yourself, and maybe even your friends along the way. We’re a national retailer with stores all across the country, so chances are whatever you build one day, your friends and family might get to use the next day. Below you’ll find some of the positions we’re looking for, but if you’re not sure but think you have the experience or skillset that we need, drop us an e-mail — or visit our website!

Service designer (Oslo)

UX/UI- designer (Oslo)

UX designer (Oslo)

Developer (Oslo)

Henrik Valstad

Written by

Head of Strategy & Projects @CoopX, ex @Schibsted & @EY, dad, surfer 🏄‍♂️ (used to)

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